“It remains our ambition for Wales to become an independent nation, standing on its own two feet.” – Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru Plaid Cymru’s General Election 2017 manifesto has officially been published today. The manifesto begins by stating that “It remains our ambition for Wales to become an independent nation, standing on its own two feet” – a rather odd line from a party so emphatically pro-EU and eager to overlook the fact that Wales voted to Leave the European Union back in June. Plaid sets out that the ‘crumbling’ Labour Party can be relied upon no longer and claims that if enough of its MPs are elected it will: Demand that every single penny we lose from Europe is replaced by Westminster Create a Wales where our interests are defended at all times and Welsh interests are put at the heart of Brexit negotiations Guarantee the rights of all Europeans currently living and working in Wales On the issue of rights of EU nationals, the Government has attempted several times to guarantee the rights of Europeans currently living and working in all four constituent parts of the United Kingdom – but has now hit some major hurdles thanks to the EU’s decision to include the European Court of Justice in its demands over citizens’ rights, making them both unacceptable and fundamentally unworkable, as my colleague Hugh Bennett set out earlier this month. Plaid goes on to say that it will: Demand that Wales has the power to set its own rates of tax including Corporation Tax, Air Passenger Duty and VAT. As we leave the EU the new assisted areas map must be determined in Wales. Where we can be: Attracting businesses to Wales, our economy thriving and our people seeing and feeling the benefits in their pockets This is another confusing point to make: if you are so happy to cede sovereignty to the European project, why are you so unhappy with it residing at Westminster? Plaid Cymru will fight to ensure that every penny of European funding, including farming payments, is replaced by the UK government Which Plaid really mean by this is that instead of British taxpayers’ cash going out to the EU and then the EU deciding how much of it is given back to us, the UK and Welsh governments can decide how they spend taxpayers’ money. We will require the UK Government to seek the endorsement of each UK country before any trade deal can be signed, in order to protect Welsh farmers This was a really big issue for the European Union when Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, held up its much publicised and long drawn-out trade deal with Canada. When the ability to sign our own Free Trade Agreements comes back to the United Kingdom, it will and should serve the whole of the United Kingdom. We will create a Welsh Migration Advisory Service so that we can have a system that suits Wales’s needs. Welsh-specific visas are necessary to plug skills gaps and to protect our health service from staff shortages. International students must be taken out of net migration targets Plaid and Labour have both put forward proposals for a future visa-based system and the removal of the international students from the overall immigration numbers. This would help the Conservatives edge closer to the immigration target which has featured in the last three of its manifestos without being reached. You can read the full text of Plaid Cymru’s manifesto for yourself by clicking here.